Thursday, October 04, 2012

Newsline: October 4, 2012


Brethren drought response will aid farm families, encourage garden projects.

Field of cornA new Brethren effort has been put together by denominational staff and districts to respond to needs of farmers and communities following a summer of extreme drought. The drought has affected a majority of states in the central US.

The cooperative project teams the energies and resources of several denominational programs with Church of the Brethren districts. Involved are Brethren Disaster Ministries, the Advocacy and Peace Witness Ministries, and the Global Food Crisis Fund, along with district executive ministers and district disaster response coordinators from the areas most affected by drought.

The Church of the Brethren drought response will be carried out in two parts, reports Roy Winter of Brethren Disaster Ministries:
  • A Farm Relief Initiative will support congregations and districts in providing relief and direct support to the most at-risk farmers in their communities. A grant of $30,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has been given to start up the Farm Relief Initiative.
  • A Community Food Security and Nutrition Initiative supported by congregationally based community gardens and other similar efforts will concretely address food insecurity, environmental degradation, and poverty. A grant of $30,000 from the Global Food Crisis Fund has been given to start up this part of the effort.
On the national level, Brethren Disaster Ministries also is connecting with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) drought response. Brethren Disaster Ministries associate director Zach Wolgemuth is one of those serving on an NVOAD task force to bring attention to the drought and help coordinate response among cooperating organizations and members of Church World Service. For more about the NVOAD response go to .

Worst drought in decades

“The United States continues to experience the worst drought in decades,” explains the grant request from Brethren Disaster Ministries. “During the hot dry summer, the US Department of Agriculture declared natural disaster areas in 1,584 counties in 32 drought-stricken states.... The declaration--which covers roughly half of the country--is the most widespread natural disaster in America. The past 12 months have been the warmest the United States has experienced since the dawn of record-keeping in 1895, according to the National Climatic Data Center.”

Church staff fear that results for rural America will be devastating, including loss of livelihood for many families and businesses that are based on agriculture or other food production, food processing, farming, and ranching.

For the rest of the country, the drought and resulting crop shortages are expected to raise food prices sharply over the next year. Many of those with marginal incomes may join the millions of Americans already struggling to put food on the table. The drought likely will increase in the number of children who go hungry--which at present represents one in four children across the nation, according to the grant request.

Recent rains in the Midwest have brought some short-term relief and may have salvaged grazing resources, but are too little too late to help this year’s crops, particularly corn and soybeans.

Farm Relief Initiative

This initiative will provide relief and support to smaller scale farmers (including livestock, orchard, truck farmers, etc.) who have lost significant farm revenue because of the drought, and are experiencing serious financial hardship to the farming family. Small grants will be given through Church of the Brethren congregations to support farmers left at risk by the drought.

A second goal is to encourage congregations to find creative ways to support and minister to people left in the margins in their communities.

The initiative will be administered by Brethren Disaster Ministries. Grant proposals must come from a congregation, not an individual. Proposals must be approved by the district office and Brethren Disaster Ministries before a grant is made.

Initial grants of up to $3,000 per farm will be awarded and a second grant of up to $2,000 may be considered as funding is available. Grants may support a broad range of needs for a farm family including seed, feed, family needs such as utilities and food, education for farmers, and repair of drought-damaged land. Grants will focus on farms that have suffered severe drought, and farming families who have little insurance benefits and significant loss to their livelihood.

Look for more information about the Farm Relief Initiative to arrive at church offices in an upcoming mailing. Information packets and proposal forms will be provided to congregations and will be made available online at . In the meantime, congregations may contact their districts for more information, or request information from Brethren Disaster Ministries at 800-451-4407

‘Going to the Garden’

“Going to the Garden: A Community Food Security and Nutrition Initiative” is led by the Advocacy and Peace Witness Ministries based in Washington, D.C. It will facilitate, educate, and empower the formation of congregationally based community gardens and other similar efforts to concretely address food insecurity, environmental degradation, and poverty.

“These projects will act as a point of education regarding local, regional, national, and international food systems and policies as well as an opportunity for theological reflection and strengthening congregations,” said an announcement from the Advocacy and Peace Witness office. “As congregations we come together regularly to worship and for fellowship. With these same communities many of us seek to reach out to our neighbors with the love of Jesus. Through the Going to the Garden initiative, Advocacy and Peace Witness Ministries hopes to build on this desire to reach out to our communities through working for healthy and sustainable food, strengthening communities through mutual service, and caring for God’s creation.”

The Global Food Crisis Fund grant of $30,000 provides initial financial backing. The Advocacy and Peace Witness Office will be the primary implementer and direct contact for participating congregations. Part-time consultants may be recruited to help provide technical support for garden projects.

Congregations may be asked to provide matching funds to receive a grant for a garden project. Matching funds will be encouraged, but not necessarily required. It is anticipated this may result in up to 30 congregations receiving grants of $1,000.

“Through a recent survey conducted by GFCF summer intern, Jamie Frye, we have learned that at least 20 Church of the Brethren congregations have community gardens at present,” reported GFCF manager Jeff Boshart. “This model, as opposed to a Food Bank matching funds initiative of the past decade, seeks to encourage a more personal, relational touch. It also recognizes that hunger is often a symptom of poverty and not a cause.

“Through personal relationships with individuals and families involved with community gardens,” he added, “congregations have the opportunity to learn about and engage some of the root causes of poverty in their own local communities.”

Going to the Garden is expected to:
  • Work alongside congregations to create or expand community gardens, assisting congregations with support and initial organization, empowering church members to be engaged.
  • Develop a handbook out of the process of working collaboratively with churches and communities, in order to assist similar processes in other locations.
  • Create local projects with the following components: a model for food security, affordable produce, rainwater collection, composting, a theology of church and community engagement, nutrition education, and education about environmental stewardship, land renewal, and food policy.
“We are eager to hear feedback on areas that can be included in this initiative,” wrote Nathan Hosler of the Advocacy and Peace Witness office. “We envision a program that is flexible and able to address the particular issues that each community and congregation wishes to engage. With this in mind we look forward to hearing about the ways we can work with congregations to develop local projects.”

Interested congregations should contact the Advocacy and Peace Witness office, which also welcomes suggestions of people who have skills to support this work, and suggestions of helpful resources. Contact Nathan Hosler at or 202-481-6943, or by mail at 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002.

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

On Earth Peace board of directors holds fall meeting.

On Earth Peace Board of Directors, Fall 2012
Photo by courtesy of On Earth Peace
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors met at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., for its fall 2012 meeting: (back from left) Ken Wenger, Don Mitchell, Robbie Miller, Madalyn Metzger, Joel Gibbel, Bill Scheurer, Cindy Weber-Han, David Miller; (front from left) Carol Mason, Lauree Hersch Meyer, Gail Erisman-Valeta, Ben Leiter, Louise Knight, Doris Abdullah. Not pictured: Jordan Blevins, Melisa Grandison, Patricia Ronk.
At its fall meeting, the On Earth Peace board of directors discussed plans for an upcoming elimination of racism training and audit--the next step of a commitment by the board and staff to address issues of racism both within and outside of the organization.

Other key items of business included approving the organization’s budget for the 2013 fiscal year and exploring new developments in program services, including exploration of a Living Peace Church initiative. The board of directors also welcomed a group from the Church of the Brethren’s Standing Committee to discuss On Earth Peace’s statement of inclusion. Standing Committee had requested this meeting in a “Way Forward” statement released at the 2012 Annual Conference in St. Louis, Mo.

During the meeting, the board welcomed Bill Scheurer, who began as On Earth Peace executive director on June 4. The group also recognized outgoing board member Doris Abdullah (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and longtime supporter and volunteer Fran Nyce (Westminster, Md.) for their service to the organization. In addition, the board welcomed new board member Cindy Weber-Han (Chicago, Ill.).

For 2013, the board called Madalyn Metzger (Bristol, Ind.) to continue as chair, Robbie Miller (Bridgewater, Va.) to continue as vice chair, and Benjamin Leiter (Amherst, Mass.) to continue as secretary. On Earth Peace conducts discussion and decision-making by consensus.

As an agency of the Church of the Brethren, On Earth Peace answers Jesus Christ’s call for peace and justice through its ministries; builds thriving families, congregations, and communities; and provides the skills, support, and spiritual foundation to face violence with active nonviolence.

-- Madalyn Metzger is chair of the board of On Earth Peace.

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

What is offered during 2013 open enrollment through Brethren Insurance Services?

Church of the Brethren employees who work 20 hours or more are eligible to enroll in four ancillary insurance products through Brethren Insurance Services in November. Brethren Insurance Services are a service from Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT).

Rates, plan information, and enrollment forms for Dental, Vision, Supplemental Life, and Short-Term Disability Insurance will be available at after Oct. 29.

Those who wish to renew a current level of coverage for these services do not need to reapply.

Here is a more complete description of each of the four products being offered during this year’s open enrollment:
Dental: Choose from one of three dental plan options for a church employee or their family. These plans can cover checkups and other preventive services, as well as fillings, oral surgery, and orthodontia. This coverage is offered in partnership with Delta Dental of Illinois.

Vision: Three plan options are available to a church employee and family through EyeMed Vision Care. These plans offer various levels of coverage for eye exams, contact lenses, and glasses.

Supplemental Life: This insurance is available to members who already have Life insurance coverage through Brethren Insurance Services. This age-rated product is available for up to $10,000 of additional insurance for those who have not yet reached their maximum life insurance benefit amount.

Short-Term Disability: This product covers most of the gap between the onset of disability and the start of Long-Term Disability coverage. This plan will pay up to 60 percent of salary--up to $1,250 per week. (Note: Any sickness or injury for which an applicant received medical treatment, consultation, care, or services--including diagnostic procedures--or took prescribed drugs or medicines to treat during the three months immediately prior to the effective date of insurance, is not covered for the first 12 months the policy is in effect.)
Because a church employee also may apply for Life, Long-Term Disability, and Long-Term Care Insurance through Brethren Insurance Services at any time throughout the year, these services will not be part of the 2013 open enrollment. Approval will be based on health information.

For questions or to receive an open enrollment packet by mail, please contact Connie Sandman, customer service representative, at 800-746-1505, ext. 366, or .

-- Brian Solem is publications coordinator for Brethren Benefit Trust.

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

Survey gives clues to Brethren attitudes on discipling ministries.

The Church of the Brethren took part in a survey by the Protestant Church-owned Publishers Association (PCPA) last spring when Brethren Press joined with 14 other publishing houses to compare how congregations are encouraging discipleship and spiritual formation.

The survey was conducted by the Southern Baptist-owned LifeWay Research. Their report to Brethren Press compared Brethren with the broader group of all denominations surveyed, and gives general findings for the whole group of congregations who responded. Respondents were asked to report about attitudes toward discipling ministries such as Christian education, Bible studies, and small groups.

The survey received 191 responses from Church of the Brethren congregations, out of a pool of over 1,000. Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden noted that this is a good response rate for surveys in general. She commented that the results were interesting, though there were limitations because the survey instrument was developed by representatives of several large publishing houses and was based on their interests and wording.

She noted that it is difficult to reach conclusions about Brethren materials because the questions are somewhat general. For example, they do not compare congregations that use denominational materials with congregations that don’t. Some of the findings seem contradictory, as well. For example, more congregations are writing their own curriculum, and more congregations report use of published curriculum.

Here are a few survey results:
  • For all age levels--children, youth, and adults--Sunday morning Sunday school is by far the most important discipling ministry.
  • In comparison with the wider sample, when asked “Which of the following does your church have in place to encourage the spiritual growth of your congregation?” Brethren are less likely to have an intentional plan for discipling children, youth, and adults. Brethren congregations also are less likely to have a leader responsible for the spiritual formation of those age groups.
  • However, overall over 75 percent agree that their congregation is making significant progress in their spiritual development.
  • The most commonly selected area for desired improvement is “more leaders.”
  • Brethren are more likely to disagree with this statement: “It is clear which methods and strategies effectively develop and grow disciples today,” and less likely to disagree with this statement: “We have an action or service-oriented approach to spiritual development.”
  • When asked about discipling ministries for children, 59 percent do not prefer a chronological approach to the Bible, 61 percent prefer a thematic approach, 90 percent prefer an approach that cycles through developmentally appropriate biblical concepts, and about 70 percent prefer a topical approach.
  • For discipling ministries with youth, 90 percent prefer a topical approach.
  • Asked how discipleship has changed in the past two years Brethren are less likely to emphasize moving participants to act on biblical knowledge and forming small groups outside of other church activities, and somewhat more likely to emphasize people serving in the local community and building relationships with those outside the church.
  • When asked about discipleship programs for children, Brethren are less likely to have programs outside of Sunday school and are more likely to indicate that discipling programs for children are held for less than an hour, as opposed to a full hour or 90 minutes.
  • When asked about desired outcomes of discipling efforts with children, Brethren are more likely to select “demonstrate more love in relationships” and acceptance as a desired characteristic, and less likely to select “better understand Scripture and its meaning.”
  • Brethren respondents are more likely to report that no ongoing discipleship ministries are currently offered for youth outside of Sunday school. The Brethren also are less likely to report having youth worship, after-school programs, or other events like teen groups.
  • With regard to discipleship ministries for adults, Brethren congregations are more likely to have adult Sunday school and less likely to have men's or women’s groups or pastor-led teaching times other than regular weekend services.
  • The results also suggest that Brethren are less likely than others to regularly start new small classes or groups.
  • Asked to select desired outcomes or characteristics of discipling ministries for adults, Brethren are more likely to select “better understand Scripture and its meaning” and “learn how to better handle problems,” and less likely to select “witnessing changed lives” and “new leaders being developed.”
  • One open-ended question was included: “Over the last two years, what new things has your church done or sought to do to encourage the discipleship and spiritual formation of your congregation?” In the responses, the words “group,” “study,” and “Bible” were among the most commonly used to describe new things that churches are doing.
Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

Conference director excited about Charlotte 2013, asks for understanding on hotel costs.

Conference director Chris Douglas visits the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte
Photo by Jon Kobel
Conference director Chris Douglas visits the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte
The city of Charlotte, N.C., will be a wonderful location for the 2013 Annual Conference, according to director Chris Douglas. In an interview last week at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., she commented on the site for the Church of the Brethren’s 227th recorded annual meeting.

The 2013 Conference will be led by moderator Robert Krouse, pastor of Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa., on the theme, “Move in Our Midst.” (See more details about planning for the event below.)

Douglas also apologized in advance for the prices that are forecast for the Conference hotels, and explained how the prices came about and the church’s legal obligation to the hotel block.

‘A great downtown’

Douglas described Charlotte, which is a leading business center for the east coast and is considered the banking capital of the South, as “a pleasant, inviting downtown.” Attractions include the NASCAR Hall of Fame directly across the street from the convention center. Lots of restaurants are within easy walking distance as well. Douglas reported that the downtown restaurants are “at all price points,” and offer “a lot of variety of places to eat.”

The downtown area features parks with fountains, flowers, and sitting areas that will appeal to Brethren--especially those with young families looking for space for children to stretch their legs.

The Charlotte Convention Center facility is only 17 years old, and incorporates a food court featuring some popular restaurant and café chains. Since 2007 it has been implementing “Going Green” procedures such as recycling and water conservation.

Douglas also highlighted a special plan, new this year, for Sunday to be a time for spiritual renewal. This year, the business sessions are being postponed and will not start until Monday morning.

“We’re at a time in our denomination where we need to stop doing business as usual and invite God to ‘move in our midst’ in a more intentional and powerful way,” she explained, quoting the theme that has been chosen for the Conference. “How do we attend to God’s call in our lives, and how do we open ourselves to allow God to move? Annual Conference has got to be more than just business.” (See below for more about the day of renewal on June 30.)

‘Bear with us’ on hotel costs

Planning for Annual Conference begins years in advance, with convention centers reserved at least five years ahead--a strategy that up to recently obtained cheaper prices for the Brethren. However, since the recession imposed significant economic stress on the hotel industry this has changed, Douglas reported.

Contracts for the Charlotte Convention Center and hotel block were signed one month before the stock market crash of 2008. They are legal documents, Douglas said, and are binding on the Annual Conference. She has attempted to renegotiate the hotel contracts but without success. “I have begged hotels to lower the prices,” she said. “I’m sorry that these prices are outrageous, but they’re what we’ve got.”

Douglas has explained to hotel management that the typical Brethren family and delegates from smaller congregations are not accustomed to paying the rates charged in Charlotte, where downtown hotels usually run $180-plus per night.

The relatively low room rates in the Conference hotel block--which range from $130 to $145--are virtually unheard of in Charlotte these days, Douglas learned from hotel management. “So when they look at our rates they say, what are you complaining about? These are fabulous rates,” from the point of view of the hotels, she said. “We’re already at the lowest price rate of any of the hotel contracts for 2013.”

The one success she has had is to decrease the number of rooms reserved in the hotel block. The contracts oblige the church to either fill a certain percentage of rooms in the block each night of the Conference, or to reimburse hotels for the cost of unfilled rooms. This means that if Brethren do not fill 85 percent of the hotel block each night of the Conference, the cost of unfilled rooms may have to be paid directly out of the Annual Conference budget.

The Conference does receive a significant reduction in the cost of renting the convention center, in return for making contracts for hotel blocks, Douglas pointed out. Such agreements are common in cities with convention centers. For example, the Conference is renting the Charlotte Convention Center for around $57,000, whereas Douglas estimates rental of the center would cost around $150,000 for a group that did not have contracts with surrounding hotels.

In upcoming years, she has been able to negotiate much better terms. For example in Tampa, Fla., in 2015, hotel rates will be very reasonable, she said, and rental of the convention center will be virtually free to the Conference.

Until then, however, Douglas asks Brethren to express mutual support by reserving within the Conference hotel block instead of going to cheaper possibilities away from the convention center.

When it became clear that Charlotte hotels would not lower their prices, the Program and Arrangements Committee discussed raising the registration fee for those who do not reserve in the hotel block, Douglas said. The idea was to help spread out the costs of unfilled hotel rooms throughout the Conference budget.

However, the committee decided against taking that step, hoping instead that a forthright appeal to Brethren to understand and help out would be enough to encourage each congregation and each Conference-goer to do their part.

“I feel terrible about the situation we’re in,” Douglas said. “I’ve done everything I know how to do to appeal to the hotels. We’re stuck with these rooms. They’re legal contracts, and the church has an obligation.”

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

Planning for 2013 Annual Conference includes a Sunday of renewal.

A view of the city skyline of Charlotte, N.C.
Photo by courtesy of Visit Charlotte, Patrick Schneider Photography
A view of the city skyline of Charlotte, N.C.
Following is initial planning for the 2013 Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C., on June 29-July 3. See below for information about the theme, leadership, location and facilities, fees, hotel costs, and a special day set aside for spiritual renewal. Additional information will be posted at as it becomes available.


“Move in Our Midst” is the theme for the 2013 Annual Conference, taken from lyrics written by the late Brethren poet and hymnwriter Ken Morse. This Conference falls in the 100th anniversary year of Morse’s birth, in 1913.

The following daily themes have been announced:
  • Saturday June 29, “Move in Our Midst,” Philippians 2:13, 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • Sunday, June 30, “Touch Us,” Ezekiel 36:26-27
  • Monday, July 1, “Teach Us,” Ephesians 4:11-13
  • Tuesday, July 2, “Transform Us,” Ephesians 4:30-32
  • Wednesday, July 3, “Transport Us,” Matthew 9:38, Luke 4:18-19
Find the moderator’s reflection on the theme below in this Newsline, or go to .

Moderator Robert Krouse, pastor of Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa., will lead the Conference assisted by moderator-elect Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, interim co-pastor at West Charleston Church of the Brethren in Tipp City, Ohio. James M. Beckwith, pastor of Annville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, is the Annual Conference secretary.

Serving on the Program and Arrangements Committee alongside the three Conference officers and Conference director Chris Douglas are Eric Bishop of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, Cindy Laprade Lattimer of the pastoral staff at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and Christy Waltersdorff, pastor of York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill.

Volunteer coordinators include:
  • Site coordinators Dewey and Melissa Williard of Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Registration coordinator Nancy Hillsman of Durham, N.C.
  • Hospitality coordinator Teresa Broyles of Roanoke, Va.
  • Usher coordinators Linda and Buddy Crumpacker of Blue Ridge, Va.
  • Ticket sales coordinator Karen Haynes of Roanoke, Va.
  • Unloading/loading coordinator C.D. Lyons of Concord, N.C.
  • Early childhood services coordinators Pat Mullins of Little River, S.C., and Suzanne Rhoades of Daleville, Va.
  • Children’s activities coordinator, Kindergarten-2nd grades, Stephanie Naff of Bassett, Va.
  • Children’s activities coordinator, 3rd-5th grades, Lynette Harvey of Roanoke, Va.
  • Junior high activities coordinator Clara Nelson of Blacksburg, Va.
  • Senior high activities coordinator Mike Elmore of Salem, Va.
  • Young adult activities coordinator Emily LaPrade of Boones Mill, Va.
  • Singles/Night Owl activities coordinator Dava Hensley of Roanoke, Va.

A day of renewal
Sunday, June 30, is being set aside as a special day for Conference-goers to “refocus, restore, renew,” with no business scheduled until Monday morning. This is in response to the item of business that came to the 2012 Conference highlighting a need to revitalize the Annual Conference experience.
Sunday will feature three worship events:
  • a morning worship service on the theme “Grace, Grace, and More Grace” with speaker Philip Yancey, a popular Christian writer and author of “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” and “The Jesus I Never Knew”;
  • an afternoon worship service on the theme, “The Pathway to God Is Paved with Prayer,” led by Mark Yaconelli, a writer, speaker, spiritual director, and co-founder and program director for the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont (Calif.) School of Theology; and
  • an evening “Concert of Prayer” inviting all to an experience of personal prayer and guided corporate prayer.
After each worship service will be a session of “Equipping Workshops” offering deeper insights into various areas of faith such as how we experience God, servant leadership, spiritual formation, and more.

Preaching on Saturday evening, June 29, will be moderator Robert Krouse.

Philip Yancey, author of “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” and “The Jesus I Never Knew,” will give the Sunday morning sermon on June 30. That same day, Mark Yaconelli of the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont (Calif.) School of Theology will preach for a special afternoon worship service.

Paul Mundey, pastor of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren, will preach Monday evening, July 1.

For worship on Tuesday evening, July 2, a dialogue sermon will be given jointly by Pam Reist of the pastoral staff at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and Paul W. Brubaker, a minister at Middle Creek Church of the Brethren in Lititz, Pa.

Suely Inhauser of Igreja da Irmandade, the Church of the Brethren in Brazil, will give the closing sermon of the Conference on Wednesday morning, July 3.

Location and facilities
The Charlotte Convention Center opened in 1995 and has 280,000 square feet of meeting/exhibit space, 46 meeting rooms, and a food court featuring some popular restaurant and café chains. Since 2007 it has been implementing “Going Green” procedures such as recycling, water conservation, use of bio-degradable paper products, and environmentally sensitive cleaning supplies.

The hotel block in downtown Charlotte includes five hotels: the Westin Charlotte and the Hilton Charlotte Center City--closest to the convention center and considered co-headquarter hotels--as well as the Omni Charlotte, the Charlotte Marriott City Center, and the Hampton Inn.

Go to for more about the historic city of Charlotte, founded in 1769, and a list of sites of interest in the area such as the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Billy Graham Library.

Registration fees
Delegate registration: $285 for early registration until Feb. 19, 2013; $310 for advance registration from Feb. 20-June 4, 2013; $360 for on-site registration in Charlotte.

Adult non-delegate registration: $105 for online advance registration from Feb. 20-June 4; $140 on-site. For those not planning to attend the full Conference, an adult daily rate of $35 is available in advance, going up to $45 onsite.

Brethren Volunteer Service worker discount: active BVSers may register for $30 in advance, or $50 onsite.

Children, youth, and young adults ages 12-21: $30 for the full Conference if registered in advance, $50 onsite. A daily rate is available of $10 for advance registration, or $15 onsite.

Children under 12: registration is free, but children are still required to register using the online process or to register onsite on arrival in Charlotte.

Hotel costs
Westin Charlotte: $145 per room per day, $18 per day for parking
Hilton Charlotte Center City: $139 per room per day, $18 per day for parking
Omni Charlotte: $130 per room per day, $15 per day for parking
Charlotte Marriott City Center: $139 per room per day, $14 per day for parking
Hampton Inn: $134 per room per day, $10 per day for parking

Video resource
A promotional video about the 2013 Conference in Charlotte has been created by Brethren videographer David Sollenberger and is available to view at .

More information and resources will be posted at as they become available, including a logo for the Conference, a business agenda, a ballot, and more.

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

Move in our midst: A reflection from the Annual Conference moderator.

Bob Krouse
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Bob Krouse
"Move in Our Midst" has been chosen as the theme for the 2013 Annual Conference. It also is the title of the hymn “Move in Our Midst,” with lyrics written by the late Brethren poet and hymn writer Ken Morse. “Move in Our Midst” has been a favorite hymn at Annual Conferences over the years. Here is moderator Bob Krouse’s reflection on this theme:

As we continue the work of Jesus, it is important to invite Jesus to continue to work in us. It is clear that God isn't finished with us yet. Each of our churches and all of our members need a fresh touch from the Holy Spirit to restore what is broken, refresh weary members, and revive vital ministries. Paul puts it this way, "For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). When we gather in Charlotte, N.C., from June 29 to July 3, 2013, let us invite the Spirit of the living God to move in our midst, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

I affectionately refer to the hymn “Move in Our Midst” as the Brethren National Anthem. Ken Morse, who wrote the lyrics, was born in 1913 and so 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. It seems fitting to convene our 227th recorded Annual Conference under the theme “Move in Our Midst.” The verses of this hymn are words of urgent petition and heartfelt prayer:

“Move in our midst, thou Spirit of God...
Touch thou our hands to lead us aright...
Strike from our feet the fetters that bind...
Kindle our hearts to burn with thy flame...
Spirit of God, O send us thy pow'r!”

I'm suggesting that this theme be underscored by this promise: “For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

This is a challenging time for our church. We are not of one mind on a number of important issues and we haven't always been at our best as we've wrestled with our differences. As we gather in Charlotte, N.C., next summer let us humble ourselves and pray that God will move in our midst, to restore, refresh, and revive us.

Saturday: “Move in Our Midst,” Philippians 2:13, 2 Chronicles 7:14: Our desire to continue the work of Jesus places the emphasis on what we are called to do. Yet, like clay in the potter's hand, we need to place our lives in God's hands. The hymn, "Move in Our Midst" is an invitation: O God, move in our midst and continue to work in our lives! Paul reminds us, "It is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

Sunday: “Touch Us,” Ezekiel 36:26-27: God created each of us with a longing for intimacy. However, the demands and challenges of life can grind us down and make it difficult to experience the kind of intimate relationship God desires. God wants to touch and transform our hearts: "I will give you and new heart and a new spirit," says the Lord.

Monday: “Teach Us,” Ephesians 4:11-13: Jesus said, “Go and make disciples, teaching them....” Jesus taught in such a way that his disciples were not merely informed, they were transformed. The work of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Equipping involves the kind of mending and mentoring that enables the saints to develop mature faith, cultivate healthy relationships, and be more like Jesus.

Tuesday: “Transform Us,” Ephesians 4:30-32: In a culture where personal initiative and rugged individualism are prized, spiritual transformation is thought of as a personal goal rather than a joint venture. Yet, if the community of faith is going to function as the body of Christ, the work of transformation must become a joint venture. "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit" with things like "bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander," Paul writes. These things impair our ability to function as the body of Christ. The transforming power of the Spirit will enable us to let go of bitterness and anger so we can practice kindness and forgiveness.

Wednesday: “Transport Us,” Matthew 9:38, Luke 4:18-19: The One who longs to touch us and teach us and transform us, yearns to transport us to wherever there are people who are afraid or alone or angry or addicted or abandoned. We are called to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. We must go as care takers and relief workers who are also disciple makers! When those who are afraid and addicted and abandoned become free in Jesus they will be free indeed!

Bob Krouse, moderator
2013 Annual Conference

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

Brethren Village announces John N. Snader as president and CEO.

Brethren Village logoThe Board of Directors of Brethren Village retirement community in Lancaster, Pa., announce the appointment of John N. Snader as the community's new president, effective Nov. 19. He succeeds Gary N. Clouser, who is retiring after having  served as president since 1977.

Snader is currently senior vice president for Customer Experience at Ephrata (Pa.) Community Hospital, responsible for shaping and directing the organization’s approach to providing high quality, high touch care that connects emotionally with patients and their families and results in sustaining loyalty that will grow the hospital’s market share.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as Brethren Village’s President. I look forward to serving the residents, employees, and the larger community of supporters of Brethren Village as it continues to fulfill its mission, vision, and values,” said Snader. The appointment of Snader is consistent with the strategic plan of transitioning leadership adopted by the Board of Directors earlier this year.

Snader is an active community volunteer and currently serves as chair of the Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation Board of Trustees as well as a Brethren Village board member. He is a graduate of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College with a degree in Political Science and earned an MBA at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He is an adjunct faculty instructor in Saint Joseph University’s graduate healthcare administration program and also has been a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph’s University, and Penn State University in both the undergraduate and graduate school.

He resides in Ephrata and is a member of Lancaster Church of the Brethren.

In another appointment, David Rayha, NHA, will join Brethren Village on Oct. 17 as vice president of Health Services and will be responsible for skilled care, personal care, home care, and rehabilitation services. He is currently executive director of Bellingham Retirement Community in West Chester, Pa. He holds undergraduate degrees from York College of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in Public Administration with concentration in Heath Care Management from Pennsylvania State University. He resides in Willow Street, Pa.

Brethren Village is a Continuing Care Retirement Community that provides care for residents 62 years of age and older. As a nonprofit corporation, the village provides services and amenities in three areas of living including residential living, personal care, and skilled nursing care. Maintaining a close affiliation with the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District, the village has memberships with LeadingAge, LeadingAgePA, the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, and the Anabaptist Provider Group. Brethren Village also maintains affiliation with Brethren Services Inc. and Brethren Service II Inc., incorporated in 1984 and 2004 respectively, for the purpose of providing affordable housing for the elderly and/or handicapped under Section 202 of the National Housing Act.

-- Tara Marie Ober is public relations manager at Brethren Village Retirement Community.

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

James Skelly named interim director of Baker Institute at Juniata College.

James Skelly
Photo by courtey of Juniata College
James Skelly
James Skelly, a longtime senior fellow at Juniata College’s Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, has been named interim director of the institute for a two-year period, effective immediately. Juniata College is a Church of the Brethren-related school in Huntingdon, Pa.

Skelly takes over from Richard Mahoney, who directed the Baker Institute from 2008 to 2012. Mahoney left Juniata to become director of the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina State University in Winston-Salem.

Skelly has been associated with Juniata’s peace studies program for more than a decade. Over the years, he has at different times spent a year or a semester in residency at the college to teach courses or returned to speak on various peace-related issues.

“Peace institutes like the Baker Institute, and peace studies more broadly, are not sentimentalized, utopian projects, although they are sometimes said to be so, especially by those who consider themselves ‘realists,’” Skelly says. “Instead, it’s our task at the Baker Institute and Juniata College to insure that we develop a realism that not only takes account of the world we’re living in now, but more importantly, the world we want to live in and can create with commitment and intelligence.”

Described as “the Peace Studies architect” by genocide scholar Robert Jay Lifton in Lifton’s memoir “Witness to an Extreme Century,” Skelly also is a member of the faculty at the Institute for Social and European Studies in Koszeg, Hungary, and a TAMOP Research Fellow at Pazmany Peter Katholik University in Hungary.

His activism for peace and commitment to peace studies reaches back to the 1970s, when, as a US military officer, he filed a lawsuit against then-Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird because he refused to serve in Vietnam. The case helped redefine the criteria for conscientious objectors.

Since completing his doctorate at the University of California, San Diego, he has taught and lectured at institutions in Europe, the US, China, Japan, and Russia. He has published articles on war and peace issues, as well as study abroad and global citizenship in such professional journals as “International Educator,” “Disarmament Forum,” “Peace Review,” and “The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad: Higher Education and the Quest for Global Citizenship.”

In 1984 he joined the faculty at U.C. San Diego as associate director of the university’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, where he worked with Ambassador Herbert York, a nationally known nuclear arms control advocate, and helped create a graduate fellowship program and a peace study abroad program with Mejii Gakuin University in Japan. He was a founder of the Peace Studies Association in 1987 and chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Peace and War 1987-88. From 1989-90, he worked as associate director of New York University’s Center for War, Peace, and the News Media, and subsequently became associate director of the Irish Peace Institute at the University of Limerick. In 1995, he co-founded the European Peace University-Spain, now part of Universitat Jaume I in Castellon de la Plana.

-- John Wall is director of media relations for Juniata College.

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

Webinar highlights wonder and imagination to feed the spirit.

Anabel C. Proffitt
Photo courtesy of Anabel Proffitt

“The Wonder of It All: Using Wonder and Imagination to Feed the Spirit” is the title of a two-part webinar presented as a collaboration of the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. This free online event is intended for pastors and other interested church members, and no pre-registration is required.

“How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it?” said an invitation from Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices. “The sense of wonder holds these two states in a creative tension that feeds our spiritual lives with a sense of gratitude and awe.”

The speaker is Anabel C. Proffitt, associate professor of Educational Ministries at Lancaster (Pa.) Theological Seminary. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, she is author of numerous articles on religious education and is completing a book titled “The Sense of Wonder: Pathos and Play in Religious Education.”

Dates and times:
  • The first session on "What Is Wonder? Where and How Do We Find It?" will be Oct. 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Pacific time (1:30-2:30 p.m. eastern); repeated on Oct. 11, 5-6 p.m. Pacific (8-9 p.m. eastern).
  • The second session on "Cultivating Religious Imagination in Life and Ministry" is Oct. 29, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Pacific (1:30-2:30 p.m. eastern); repeated on Nov. 1, 5-6 p.m. Pacific (8-9 p.m. eastern).
Link to the webinar at . Ministers may receive 0.1 continuing education units for live sessions only. For more information contact 800-323-8039 ext. 343 or

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

ENGAGE will welcome prospective students to Bethany Seminary.

ENGAGE logo for Bethany Seminary campus visit days 2012On Friday, Nov. 2, Bethany Theological Seminary will welcome prospective students to ENGAGE, an introduction to the seminary’s programs and community life. Coordinated by Tracy Stoddart Primozich, director of admissions, the day’s events take place at the seminary campus in Richmond, Ind., and include a number of opportunities for guests to interact with current students, faculty, and staff.

"Students consistently reflect that visiting prospective schools during their discernment process was an integral part of their decision to come to Bethany," says Primozich. "Our ENGAGE visit day gives any who are thinking about seminary the chance to experience who we are and what we offer in exploring the study of theology."

Highlights will include a variety of class session options, allowing participants to more fully experience the seminary’s course offerings, faculty members, and teaching styles:

Tara Hornbacker, professor of Ministry Formation: "Discernment as Spiritual Discipline”
Discover how discernment can be a lifelong practice, both personally and professionally.
Dan Poole, coordinator for Ministry Formation: "Exploring the Golden Triangle of Ministry"
This session looks at the reality that ministry is based on TBD (Hint: it doesn't stand for “to be determined”). Come explore insights of a balanced approach to life and ministry.
Ken Rogers, professor of Historical Studies: "Martin Luther and the Beginning of Protestantism"

Denise Kettering, assistant professor of Brethren Studies: "Monastics, Mothers, and Martyrs: Women in the Reformation"
Was the Reformation helpful for women or not? We will examine various roles that were ascribed to and assumed by women in the Reformation period.
Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, professor of Preaching and Worship: "Awesome, Playful Worship"
Worship calls forth our best theological conversations and playful ingenuity. Come discover some thoughtful, playful ways of creating meaningful worship services for all God's people!
Malinda Berry, instructor of Theological Studies: "How Should We Live? Theological Reflection on the Christian Life"
We often think about being Christian as believing certain things, but we also know that being Christian has something to do with how we live. In this session, we will put it all together.
Prospective student guests also will receive information on admissions and financial aid, take a campus tour, and participate in worship. For more information or to register, visit the Bethany website at

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations for Bethany Seminary.

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

Brethren bits.

40th anniversary of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) in Northern Ireland, Sept. 2012 
The 40th anniversary of Brethren Volunteer Service in Northern Ireland was celebrated Sept. 15 when a group of current BVS workers and past volunteers got together for a lunch. BVS Europe coordinator Kristin Flory was in Belfast for the event. In her note about the celebration, she recalled comments by Rev. Harold Good at the 30th anniversary gathering: "When the full story of all these years in Northern Ireland is written, sadly you probably won't be recorded or mentioned--not BVS nor you individually. Sorry about that. But more important, in ways that can never be measured, is that you've made a huge contribution to the lives of so many people here and to our overall situation. By your coming here you have encouraged us, by helping us to realize we are part of a great world family who are concerned about peace, justice, and people.... It’s important that we’re not alone in that.”
  • Remembrance: Phill Carlos Archbold, 76, a past moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and a prominent pastor in Atlantic Northeast District, died Oct. 1 at Brethren Village in Lancaster, Pa. He had been placed in hospice care on Sept. 21 after a hospitalization in his struggle with cancer. He served as moderator of the 2001 Annual Conference in Baltimore, Md. In 2002 he retired from longterm pastoral service at Brooklyn (N.Y.) First Church of the Brethren, where he began as associate pastor for Hispanic and special ministries and also was a youth minister. However, more recently he had been called back to serve the church in an interim capacity. His years at Brooklyn First helped lead the congregation in significant ministries providing service to older adults in the congregation, as well as to the poor and those in need in the neighborhood where he was involved in a special ministry of visitation and care for the homeless, drug users, and in particular those suffering illnesses related to HIV and AIDS. His work for the district and denomination included involvement with the former General Board’s urban ministry program, and service on the Atlantic Northeast District board as well as other leadership in the district where he was a popular speaker. He also was chaplain for many years at Bailey House, a hospice for people with AIDS. Archbold grew up in Colón, Panama, and as a young man did volunteer work for the chaplain of Fort Davis, a US military base. After coming to the US, he was drafted and went to Vietnam as General Westmoreland’s secretary. It was while setting up a chapel room for the general that he met Earl Foster, who was to become senior pastor at Brooklyn First Church of the Brethren. Archbold’s professional career also included hospital administration. In 1990, at the age of 54, he was named youth leader of the year by “Group” magazine. In an interview with “Group” he told the magazine that he spent eight years as a youth ministry volunteer at Brooklyn First before entering the pastoral ministry as a fulltime youth worker. His comment on leaving a high-paying job for youth ministry: “I made a lot of money as a hospital administrator.... Now everything is less. But the joy is so much more. I see lives being changed.” A memorial service will be held at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. Guests are invited to a reception immediately following. Memorial contributions are received to Brooklyn First Church of the Brethren, Brethren Village’s Good Samaritan Fund, or an AIDS organization of the donor’s choice. To watch a webcast of the service any time after Oct. 29, visit .
  • Mandy Garcia has been promoted to associate director of Donor Communications for the Church of the Brethren. In this newly created position she will report to John Hipps, director of Donor Relations, and will work out of the General Secretary’s office. Most recently she has been coordinator of Donor Invitation, a position within the communications staff. She began as part of the Stewardship and Donor Development team in July of 2010.
  • Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., seeks a guest services coordinator to fill a fulltime salaried position beginning Jan. 2, 2013. The camp seeks a dependable, caring worker with good interpersonal, organizational, and leadership skills. Experience in camping/retreat ministry or guest hospitality is preferred and/or related experience. Experience in office management is a plus, with computer skills with proficiency with MS Office Suite 2007 or higher is a must. An application, a detailed position description, and more information are available at .
  • Church World Service (CWS) seeks an emergency response specialist for the Midwest and plains states (job location and residence in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, or North Dakota). The emergency response specialist is the critical central operational component of the CWS Emergency Response Program in the US and encourages cooperative work by people of faith in comprehensive management of natural and human-caused disasters including preparedness, response, recovery, reduction of vulnerability through training, mentoring, building organizational capacity of local community leadership. Application deadline is Oct. 24. For details go to .
  • On Earth Peace has sent out a recap of Peace Day 2012 in its recent e-mail newsletter. Peace Day is an initiative inviting congregations and communities to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace on or around Sept. 21. Over 170 congregations and community groups in 15 countries and 26 US states partnered with On Earth Peace to organize prayer events this year during the organization’s sixth annual campaign. “The locally identified focus of specific events included many faces of violence: gun violence, bullying, domestic violence, war, and hatred based on religious belief, among others,” said the recap, which included details about some specific events in Sharpsburg, Md.; Auburn, Ind.; and India. Find the full Peace Day recap in the most recent issue of the “Peacebuilder” at .
  • A meeting of leaders from the Church of the Brethren, Bethany Seminary, and Brethren-related colleges and universities begins today at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Hosting the meeting is the Ministry Advisory Council--a group of denominational and seminary staff and district executives--which has invited a representative of each school to attend. Also invited are heads of the Annual Conference agencies: general secretary Stan Noffsinger, Bethany Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen, Brethren Benefit Trust president Nevin Dulabaum, and On Earth Peace executive Bill Scheurer. Representing the colleges will be president Thomas Kepple of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.; Robert Andersen, W. Harold Row Professor of International Studies at Bridgewater (Va.) College; Greg Dewey, provost of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of La Verne, Calif.; Kent Eaton, vice president for Academic Affairs at McPherson (Kan.) College; Dave McFadden, executive vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy at Manchester University, which has its main campus in N. Manchester, Ind.; and Susan Traverso, provost and senior vice president at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. In a letter to participants, Johansen and Noffsinger noted it has been 30 years since educators and denominational leaders have met to discuss the relationship between faith and learning as experienced at the Brethren colleges.
  • The 40th anniversary of Brethren Volunteer Service in Northern Ireland was celebrated Sept. 15 when a group of current BVS workers and past volunteers got together for a lunch. BVS Europe coordinator Kristin Flory was in Belfast for the event. In her note about the celebration, she recalled comments by Rev. Harold Good at the 30th anniversary gathering: "When the full story of all these years in Northern Ireland is written, sadly you probably won't be recorded or mentioned--not BVS nor you individually. Sorry about that. But more important, in ways that can never be measured, is that you've made a huge contribution to the lives of so many people here and to our overall situation. By your coming here you have encouraged us, by helping us to realize we are part of a great world family who are concerned about peace, justice, and people.... It’s important that we’re not alone in that.”
  • Church ministers are offered continuing education units (CEUs) for attending Mission Alive on Nov. 16-18 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Ministers who attend the full conference can receive 1.0 CEUs. Those attending the Friday events only can receive 0.4 CEUs and must attend both Friday plenary sessions. Attendance at Saturday’s three plenary sessions and at least three workshops offers 0.6 CEUs. To receive CEUs, indicate interest on the registration form; the fee is $10 per person. Go to for the online registration.
  • A massacre of students at a Polytechnic University has occurred in the city of Mubi, Nigeria--the nearest large city to the headquarters of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The city was already under curfew and undergoing house-to-house searches by Nigerian security forces following attacks on communication network towers by an Islamist sect called Boko Haram. However, officials and media reports are not linking the violence to Boko Haram but say student gangs are responsible. The killings follow a disputed student union election. “Some eyewitness (student) said over 35 students were killed,” reported an EYN leader by e-mail. He said that since the killings, university leaders have ordered students to vacate the campus and hundreds have been leaving the city. Some students have been left “with no food and no shelter because not enough cars to take them to their home town and no transport from their parents,” the EYN leader wrote, adding that he personally is helping two Mennonite students get home. His e-mail cast doubt on the official explanation for the violence, reporting that there also have been students killed in the city of Maiduguri at two locations related to the university there. His e-mail ended with, “many thanks for your prayers.”
  • Mt. Vernon Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Va., celebrates 146 years (1866-2012) with Homecoming on Sunday, Oct. 7. A special 11 a.m. service is planned with Garold Senger as guest speaker, bread and cup communion, dedication of the recently renovated kitchen and fellowship hall, and fellowship meal. The congregation extends a welcome to those who have attended or visited at Mt. Vernon in the past.
  • On Oct. 7, Monitor Church of the Brethren in McPherson, Kan., holds it 125th anniversary celebration.
  • Finalists for the 2012 Energy Oscars awarded by California Interfaith Power & Light include two Church of the Brethren congregations: La Verne and Modesto. The awards event will be the evening of Nov. 13 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. It honors churches with outstanding achievements in energy stewardship, education, and advocacy for a safe climate. The La Verne Church is one of three finalist for “Energy Efficiency.” The Modesto Church is one of four finalists in the “Green Building” category. For more information go to .
  • Wolgamuth Church of the Brethren is giving a “pick up” to New Hope Ministries, a local food pantry in Dillsburg, Pa. On Aug. 26, the congregation and the Dillsburg community exceeded expectations by filling not only one, but two pick-up trucks with more than 1,060 pounds of food and non-perishable items for New Hope Ministries, said a release from the church. The total number of pounds equated to $1,759.60 worth of items. The congregation’s vision for a social ministry that reaches out to the poor and broken in the name of Jesus Christ is what led its Servant Leadership Mission Team, headed by Dallas Lehman, to organize the special food drive.
  • New Fairview Church of the Brethren in York, Pa., is hosting a Fall Banquet for the Carlisle Truck Stop Ministry on Oct. 6. A silent auction begins at 4 p.m. A full course meal is served at 5:30 p.m. The event features an update from Chaplain Dan and entertainment by Set Free.
  • Panther Creek Church of the Brethren in Adel, Iowa, is hosting the fifth annual Central Iowa Love Feast on Worldwide Communion Sunday, Oct. 7, at 5 p.m. Leadership will be shared by pastors and lay members of the Brethren congregations in central Iowa. “All brothers and sisters in Christ are welcome to come and participate,” said an announcement from Northern Plains District. Contact 515-993-4096.
  • York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren has announced a special guest on Oct. 14: Elizabethtown (Pa.) College president Carl J. Strikwerda will speak for the Sunday morning worship service.
  • A spontaneous blessing for the fall unit of Brethren Volunteer Service happened during Sunday morning worship at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren last week, when the BVS orientation group worshiped with the congregation. An e-mail newsletter from Manassas noted the special Sunday experience with this comment: “When you miss a Sunday at Manassas, you miss a Sunday at Manassas.... The sound of German. A spontaneous congregation blessing upon 27 Brethren Volunteer Service workers. Great singing. Bees, bees, and more bees. Free lettuce.”
  • Pastor Ken Oren of Pitsburg Church of the Brethren in Arcanum, Ohio, is one of the ministers participating in a Kairos long weekend at Warren County Correctional Institution on the first weekend of November. He is undergoing eight weeks of training, one evening a week, to prepare for the ministry. The congregation is participating by praying for the event, and making special cookies and placemats to send along for inmates. “From my past experience, I can tell you that this is a movement of God,” Oren wrote in the church newsletter “During the four days together, we see lives transformed.” The newsletter included a link to an online prayer vigil for Kairos:
  • Blue Ridge Chapel Church of the Brethren, Waynesboro, Va., is hosting Pull-for-a-Cause on Oct. 6 beginning at 10 a.m. The Shenandoah District newsletter reports that proceeds benefit the Gibson family, whose son Dustyn died this week in a fire that destroyed their home. The event features Mary Jacobson, 58, known as the “Eldest World’s Strongest Woman.” “An active member at Blue Ridge Chapel, she will demonstrate that strength by pulling a 47,000-pound fire truck,” said the announcement. There also will be opportunities for all ages to compete in strength contests. For more information call 540-949-6915.
  • Somerset (Pa.) Church of the Brethren was the target of a recent “bungled” burglary according to the “Tribune Democrat.” Under the title, “Bungling burglars lock themselves in, leave own credit card at scene,” the newspaper reported two burglars “allegedly used a pry bar to force their way into the Somerset Church of the Brethren.... They broke into a safe and stole a credit card but then accidentally locked themselves inside the church office.” Find the full report at .
  • Five free performances of the Ted & Company show, “What’s So Funny About Money?” are sponsored by the Ministry Excellence Project of Northern Indiana and South/Central Indiana Districts, with funding from Lilly Endowment Fund. Performances are: Oct. 12, 7 p.m., at Indian Springs Middle School in Columbia City, Ind.; Oct. 13, 7 p.m. at Anderson (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Oct. 14, 3 p.m., at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind.; Oct. 20, 7 p.m. at Osceola (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; and Oct. 21, 3 p.m. at Manchester Church of the Brethren in N. Manchester, Ind. For more information contact South/Central Indiana District at 260-982-8805.
  • A Congregational Revitalization Workshop called "Transformed!" will be held by Northern Plains District on Oct. 12-13 at Camp Pine Lake. Leading the event are denominational staff Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices, and Donna Kline, director of Deacon Ministry. Sessions are intended for pastors, congregational leaders, deacons, and all who are looking to bring new life to their congregations. Freewill donations will help cover costs. Contact district executive minister Tim Button-Harrison at 641-485-5604 or .
  • “Save the Date!” Oct. 13 is the Centennial Celebration 100th Anniversary Banquet marking 100 years of the Children’s Aid Society, a ministry of Southern Pennsylvania District. Held at the Valencia Ballroom in York, Pa., the evening begins with a reception at 5 p.m. with the program starting at 6 p.m. The theme is “A Century of Caring, a Future for Children.”
  • In more news from Southern Pennsylvania District, a Risk Management Training titled "Reporting Child Abuse" will be offered Oct. 11 from 6-9 p.m. in the Gallery Room at the Cross Keys Village of the Brethren Home. There is no fee and participants may earn .3 continuing education units.
  • Oct. 12-13 are the dates for three district conferences in the Church of the Brethren: Atlantic Northeast District will meet in Leffler Chapel at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College; Mid-Atlantic District meets in Easton, Md.; and Atlantic Southeast District holds its 128th District Conference at Sebring (Fla.) Church of the Brethren on the theme “Fanning the Flame” (Acts 2:1-4), with Congregational Life Ministries executive Jonathan Shively as the opening speaker.
  • “Growing from the Ashes” is the name of the Camp Mack campaign to raise funds to build Becker Retreat Center on the site of the former Becker Lodge, according to a release from the camp. The lodge was lost to a fire in July 2010. After the June 2011 completion of the John Kline Welcome Center to replace the food service and office functions formerly housed in the lodge, Camp Mack now needs to replace lodging and meeting areas. The campaign goal is $2,466,000 toward the project goal of $3,766,000. As a part of the campaign, Camp Mack is hosting eight fundraising dinners throughout Indiana on Saturday and Sunday evenings. The first was Sept. 22 at Camp Mack. The final dinner also will be at Camp Mack on Dec. 9. In between, dinners are scheduled in Kokomo on Sept. 30, North Manchester on Oct. 14, Fort Wayne on Oct. 20, Indianapolis on Nov. 4, Mishawaka on Nov. 17, and Richmond on Dec. 1. Information about the campaign and the dinners, and an opportunity to donate, are online at . Reservations for a dinner may be made by calling Camp Mack at 574-658-4831.
  • The 28th Brethren Heritage Day Festival at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., is Oct. 6 from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.--rain or shine, according to the camp newsletter. “Our 2012 Heritage Day will have all the same great food and fun as usual PLUS some exciting new and returning goodies: The good people of Cedar Bluff Church of the Brethren will be graciously cooking TWO open-kettles of delicious apple butter. Lakeside Church of the Brethren will provide a Bounce House for children and a Heritage Area displaying and demonstrating the ‘old ways.’ The Virlina Children's Cabinet will provide children's craft activities in the Craft House. Alexander Mack himself (!) will visit us and give two presentations at Hillside Auditorium,” said the announcement. For more go to .
  • Bridgewater (Va.) College celebrates Homecoming on Oct. 5-7. A special event during the weekend is an exhibit of “Threads of History: Bridgewater College Clothing Through the Years,” a collection of freshman beanies, historic sportswear, vintage theater costume, and other clothing from the past, in the Baugher Room in the Alexander Mack Memorial Library. Other events include: an Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament; the Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet--where college athletes Amy Rafalski Hamilton ’98, James Hulvey ’73, Andrew Hence ’75, and Davon Lewis ’98 will be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame; a 5K run/walk; a family oriented Homecoming Festival; tours of Stone Village; an open house at the Wright-Heritage Link; men’s and women’s soccer games; reunion picnics for the classes of 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012; and a football game against the Hampden-Sydney Tigers. During halftime, Hall of Fame inductees will be presented rings and the Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned. An evening concert will be presented by the Bridgewater College Chorale and Jazz Ensemble. For a schedule go to .
  • In an update from the Springs Initiative in Church Renewal, the second part of a spiritual disciplines folder on Acts that runs from mid-October to Advent is now available at . The theme is “The People of God in Mission” with meditations and scriptures on Paul’s missionary journeys, reports Springs leader David Young. Bible study questions are by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren, and can be used by individuals or small group Bible studies. To receive more information about a Springs Initiative program for a local church, or the Springs Academy for training of pastors and church leaders, contact Joan and David Young at .
  • The New Community Project reports a final 2012 grant of $4,000 to South Sudan for girls’ education and women’s development. This brings the yearly total of grants from the organization to South Sudan to around $35,000. Also, the project has received a $6,000 grant from the Royer Family Charitable Foundation to provide additional sanitary materials for Sudanese school girls in the coming year. In his report, director David Radcliff also expressed concern for deaths caused by a recent fire at a factory in Pakistan, which had received an “excellent safety rating by a monitoring group employed by the corporations who get their products from these factories,” he wrote. “This is one of the reasons NCP works to equip women to be productive within their local economies--tailoring skills, gardening tools, education, micro-loans--rather than get caught up in the typically exploitative if not deadly international economic system.” For more go to .
  • Save the date for Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) 2013, says a recent note from the Advocacy and Peace Witness Ministries based in Washington, D.C. The annual EAD event welcomes hundreds of Christians to the nation’s capital for a weekend of education, worship, and advocacy. It is planned next year for April 5-8 on the theme, “At God’s Table: Food Justice for a Healthy World.” Notes staff member Nate Hosler, “April 5-8, 2013, will be a critical time to raise faith voices in support of ending hunger, improving nutrition, creating more just and sustainable food systems, and protecting God’s creation--and advocating for a ‘Faithful Federal Budget.’” Learn more at . Brethren are invited to let Advocacy and Peace Witness staff know if they plan to attend.
  • In recent meetings the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee--representing 349 member churches around the world including the Church of the Brethren--adopted statements on contemporary issues and prepared documents to come to the WCC General Assembly next year in South Korea. Statements responded to the Aug. 16 massacre at the Marikana-Lonmin mine in South Africa, reaffirmed a commitment to solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Australia, called for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to release from imprisonment Serbian Orthodox Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid; made a statement on the economic crisis in Europe; called for re-inscription of French Polynesia (Maohi Nui) on the United Nations list of colonies to be prepared for independence; encouraged Pakistan “to take immediate action to prevent the abduction, forced conversion to Islam, and forced marriage of young women from minority religious communities”; hailed the churches of Myanmar for initiatives aimed at building peace; and called all parties to engage in dialogue to end violence in Syria. The Central Committee recommended that statements be prepared for the General Assembly on the following topics: freedom of religion and rights of all religious communities in the context of the politicization of religion; peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula; and “Just Peace.” The committee also discussed a statement on Christian unity, and a document on mission, both to be presented for consideration by the assembly. The mission document is the first since 1982 to make an ecumenical affirmation of mission, said the WCC release. Find “Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes” at .
  • Joyce and John Cassell, Brethren members currently working in Israel and Palestine with an ecumenical accompaniment program of the World Council of Churches, have been blogging about the experience. Find their stories and photos at
Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jeff Boshart, Stan Dueck, Matt Guynn, Mary Kay Heatwole, Nate Hosler, Jon Kobel, Phyllis Leininger, Nancy Miner, Craig Smith, Roy Winter, Zach Wolgemuth, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.